Rocky Blu-ray: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

A great movie that dazzles on Blu-ray disc.
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A great movie that dazzles on Blu-ray disc.
THE BAD
How could they not include extras on this release?
THE FEATURE
The story of Rocky is a classic, well worn tale but one that I will go over for your reading pleasure. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a down on his luck fighter who has a heart of gold. When not engaging in poor paying and poor quality fights, Rocky hangs around his Philadelphia neighborhood picking up extra money shaking down people for a local mobster. Through his friend Paulie (Burt Young) he starts dating his sister Adrian (Talia Shire), and Rocky seems to have found a semblance of peace in his life. On the flip side of all this, boxing champ Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is having problems with a fight. He needs an opponent so he decides to give Rocky a shot and set the fight on the Fourth of July. Rocky is reticent at first but he eventually takes the fight, and enlists the help of boxing guru, Mickey (Burgess Meredith), to train him. Finally getting himself together, Rocky enters the ring against Apollo with the goal of going the distance. In the process he goes a lot further, pushing the champ to the limit in what is one of the greatest fights ever committed to film.

An uplifting tale in any place and time, Rocky looks really nice on Blu-ray disc. The gritty, doc*mentary style translates well as it shows the breadth and scope of one man's journey from street hoodlum to folk hero.
THE EXTRAS
No Extras.
THE VIDEO
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1. Filmed in 1080p HD Resolution. This movie looked terrific. I always thought it looked fine on VHS, then I watched it on DVD and I was surprised at all the things I hadn't noticed before. Here, it seems that Blu-ray has in fact taken this release to a whole other level. Yes, there is still some grainy qualities of the picture to contend with, but that is because that is how this movie was shot. They wanted it to look like a doc*mentary and so that explains the grainy look we still see. At the same time, Blu-ray is probably the best way you will ever see this film (short of getting to screen a print at MGM).
THE AUDIO
English: DTS HD 5.1. English and Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0. French: Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound was good here. I expected it to fill the room and for the most part it did. Lets not forget that we're listening to a movie that is many years old. Its audio doesn't have the technical push that many movies are recorded with today. So, even though they can modify and bump up the sound, they still have to contend with the original assets. Things don't sound bad but they might bother some cinephiles.
THE PACKAGE
The classic image of Adrian hugging Rocky after the battle with Apollo Creed is the picture they have chosen for this front cover. The back cover showcases more images from the movie, it offers up a succinct description of what this film is about and some technical specs. While this cover didn't blow me away for any reason in particular, it does serve this disc well.
THE FINAL WORD
Who doesn't love Rocky?

This movie is a timeless classic so its arrival on Blu-ray disc is only fitting. I feel this way because it is such a piece of pop culture, it so much a part of the fabric that is America that it makes sense that Rocky would be released somewhat early in this format. Getting to screen this movie in all its Blu-ray glory really makes for a nice home theater experience. I am actually quite amazed because I have seen this film so many times. I am so used to everything it has to offer, I didn't think I could see it again and still be as impressed. From how sharp and crisp the colors were to the fullness of the audio, this really made for a strong DVD watching experience.

If you have just bought a Blu-ray system or you are wondering what titles you should buy to take it out for a test drive, Rocky is sincerely one of your best bets. From top to bottom, in every sense of the word this release stands out in a positive way.

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